The last few months have seen a huge rise in the number of people wanting to access an effective workout from their own homes.
A combination of long working hours, lengthy commutes, and issues with being able to visit gyms has driven a spike in the purchase of home gym equipment and, as any fitness fan will know, a reliable treadmill is one of the essentials.
While this may seem a simple purchase, there are two primary issues that consumers typically face: the first is the range of choice. There is an enormous number of home treadmills available, each of which claims to be the best, and featuring an array of bells and whistles – sometimes quite literally – which they deem to be essential to a good workout.
The second issue is that even if you manage to find the perfect treadmill for your needs, these can come with hefty price tags, usually out of the budget of many individuals.
Fortunately for you, we have pre-empted these problems: and may just have the solution. To help you narrow down your search, we have put together a list of the very best home treadmills on the market, and they all have one bonus in common: a price tag of under $1000.
In addition, we have put together the ultimate buyers guide to ensure that you have everything you need to make a smart, informed decision, and invest in the very best treadmill for your budget, lifestyle, and fitness goals. Ready to get fit? Then let’s get started.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
With a wide range of workout programs, a comfortable feel, and an easy-to-store design, it is easy to see why the Sole F6 Treadmill is already a firm favorite for many fitness fans, and why it tops a number of “must-buy” lists.
The running surface is a generous 20 inches by 60 inches, meaning that you will have plenty of space to move and run – this is important for maintaining a straight back and good posture. Too many compact, foldable treadmills force you to trade space for convenience, and this means that you can end up running bunched up or huddled, causing issues for your back.
The Sole F63 however, alleviates this concern with a wide space, allowing you to stretch and run more naturally, and removing the risk of storing issues up for the future. As an added bonus, the surface comes with the Sole’s CushionFlex shock absorption system, which is ideal for reducing the stress placed on your joints, and helping to keep your body strong and supple.
In addition to being good for your body, this is also a powerful machine, with a 3.0 CHP motor, top speeds of 12 mph, and the choice of 15 levels of incline, making it perfect for both beginners and more experienced runners who need a challenge. You can also stay motivated thanks to the ¼ mile track feature, and the option to use built-in speakers and USB ports to hook up your favorite motivational soundtrack.
- Great range of programs and inclines makes this suitable for both beginners, and more experienced runners.
- Plenty of space allows you to run naturally, reducing poor posture
- Shock absorption is included to reduce stress and pressure on the joints
- Top speed of 12 mph for a great challenge
- Easy to fold and store when not in use for added convenience.
- May need another set of hands for construction and set-up
When it comes to treadmills, Horizon Fitness already boasts a super solid reputation, based on offering excellent quality and products designed to stand the test of time.
Their 7.0 model is no exception, and comes with an impressive 20” x 60” running surface, ensuring that you have the space you need for a safe and effective workout, with no need to worry about running out of space.
Whether you are going full pelt, or simply building up from a walk, you will have the space and stability you need to maintain excellent balance and posture. In addition, the inclusion of a 3 zone cushioning system is ideal for reducing stress on the hips, joints, and knees.
The amount of shock absorption available depends on the kinematics of running, ensuring that you enjoy the perfect level of absorption for your needs. Over time, this reduces the risk of injury on your knees.
As well as helping to keep you fit and well, this is a powerful treadmill with a 3.0 CHP motor and reaches a top speed of 12mph. It also offers an incline of 15%, making it great for those looking for a little extra challenge.
- Generous running surface – allows you plenty of space to move and run without worrying about compromising posture.
- Bluetooth speakers allow you to connect your running playlist to your treadmill for maximum motivation.
- 3 zone cushioning system supports the knees and joints for safety and support
- Top speed of 12mph makes it ideal even for experienced runners
- 15% incline for extra challenge and resistance
- Rollers are a little smaller than other models
While the LifeSpan name may not be as well known as some of the others on the list, they are nonetheless a solid, reliable brand with an excellent reputation in the world of fitness.
The TR1200i is no exception – especially when we consider the price range, The 20” x 56” surface offers plenty of space to run, giving you plenty of space to move and keep your balance.
A 2.5 CHP motor allows you to enjoy top speeds of 11mph, and an impressive 15 levels of incline – this means that it is ideal for growing and evolving with you. As your fitness increases, you can increase the intensity of your workouts, offering amazing flexibility, and ensuring that this is an investment that will stand the test of time.
Versatility is also offered through the choice of 21 built-in workouts, helping you to select the best option to improve your fitness, and build your own path and journey to a stronger, healthier you.
Rather than being required to purchase multiple machines as you gain more experience, you can invest in one single, simple machine that can grow and adjust with you – and be adapted to meet your every fitness need.
- 21 built-in workouts – giving you plenty of options, and a workout for every mood.
- 11mph top speeds – ensures that this is a suitable option for a range of fitness and running styles
- 15 levels of incline for increased challenge and intensity
- Compatible with wireless heart rate monitors allowing you to analyze and track your progress
- Powerful motor for plenty of power
- Very heavy to move and install
Horizon is quickly establishing a strong, reliable reputation in the world of fitness, and the T101 is a fantastic entry-level option. While some treadmills force you to sacrifice a generous, suitable running surface in exchange for a lower price, but this is not the case with the T101.
With a surface area of 20” x 55”, you will have plenty of room and can maintain a straight, even route, no matter how far you are going. A 2.5 CHP motor offers speeds of up to 10mph, and you can also choose any incline up to 10%, allowing you to gradually increase the intensity and challenge as you grow in fitness.
Another major advantage of the T101 – and a pleasant surprise given the budget price tag – is the ability to access up to 40 different workout programs, and this is very impressive.
Once again, this means that you have the opportunity to allow your treadmill to grow with you, and will always be able to find a workout routine that is the best fit for your needs on any particular day.
As an added bonus, the treadmill comes with one surprise advantage: built-in Bluetooth speakers. These are a major pro in this type of treadmill and are an ideal way to keep you on track and motivated during your workout.
- 40 different workout programs, allowing you to match the perfect workout to your mood
- Built-in Bluetooth speakers to keep you pumped throughout the workout
- Top speed of 10mph – suitable even for more experienced runners
- 10% incline – allows you to build resistance and increase the level of challenge.
- Good running surface keeps you balanced and supported
- Top speeds are not as high as some other options
XTERRA is another top name in the world of fitness, and they are particularly renowned for their extensive range of budget treadmills.
With a reputation for reliability, power, and durability, this is a great option if you are on a serious budget, but are unwilling to compromise on an excellent fitness experience. With a running surface of 20” x 55”, you will have plenty of space to move and run freely, all while keeping your balance and maintaining excellent posture.
Despite the low budget, the 2.25 CHP motor allows you to reach top speeds of 10mph – more than enough for a budding or beginner runner.
As an added bonus, you can enjoy 10 levels of powerful incline, allowing you to build challenge and resistance as you grow in confidence and experience. This is especially impressive when we consider the lower price tag of the XTERRA model.
The brand does well when it comes to warranty too; while not as generous as some of the other options we have seen, it does offer a lifetime frame and motor warranty – the parts likely to suffer the most wear and tear – as well as a respectable one year for parts and one year for labor.
One of the major appeals of this model is the folding capability – this is a real game-changer if you have limited space available to work out.
The entire unit folds down into a sleek, compact model, and can be easily stored away when not in use, and then unpacked and set up when it is time to exercise. Whether you are househaring, working around your family, or simply living in a limited space, this is an amazing addition.
- Treadmill folds away when not in use – allowing you to save precious space.
- Good running surface helps to keep you balanced, focused, and on track
- Good warranty for added peace of mind
- 10 levels of incline – you can increase your challenge and resistance as you grow
- 10mph top speed – great for building your stamina
- Quite heavy to move and maneuver – this could be challenging when folding and unfolding
One of the best-known names in the business, NordicTrack has a reputation for excellence, and their T Series 6.5 model is no exception. This is one of the older models in the range and is often dismissed by some fitness enthusiasts as being outdated and tired.
While the attitude is somewhat understandable, it is also erroneous. When we consider some of the other options available within the budget price range, this is a model that comes in at one of the top spots.
With a 20” x 55” running surface, you have space to move around with comfort, but just be aware that the belt is a little shorter than some of the other options on the market – this could be an issue if you are over 6 feet tall, or have a real passion for sprinting.
For beginners, however, or those looking to build up their fitness from the ground up. As an added bonus, the inclusion of a FlexSelect shock absorption system protects your joints and knees in the long term, allowing you to run in total comfort and safety.
A 2.6 CHP motor is slightly less than some of our other options, but nonetheless offers a respectable amount of power, and can reach top speeds of 10mph, in addition to a 10% incline.
As an added bonus, you can enjoy an impressive 10-year warranty on the frame, as well as 2 years on the parts, and one on labor, allowing you to enjoy peace of mind and comfort.
- Folding capability allows you to enjoy convenience and portability- perfect for smaller spaces.
- Comes with a FlexSelect shock absorbing system for protection for joints and knees
- 10% incline for great resistance
- Motor allows you to reach speeds of 10mph – great for beginner and intermediate runners
- Generous warranty
- Unlikely to be enough for more advanced dancers
- Not long enough for tall runners
If you are looking for a multipurpose treadmill designed to offer the ultimate workout at a budget price, this Sunny Health and Fitness option is the ultimate machine.
Whether you are a newbie starting out in the world of fitness, or a hardcore athlete training for your next adventure, this is a budget treadmill that can cover a wide number of bases.
The heavy-duty design means that this is robust enough to withstand higher speeds, and a weight capacity of 440 pounds is one of the strongest on the market, making it ideal if you are on a significant weight loss journey.
A dual flywheel system combines with a static incline of 10 degrees, offering a great challenge and plenty of resistance, while the unit comes equipped with super sturdy handrails, keeping you safe and balanced while getting on and off the treadmill, and textured deck rails ensure that your feet are safe and secure.
There is also an option to add your tablet or mobile device securely to the bracket supplied, ensuring that you can enjoy your favorite playlist, catch up on the latest episode of that hot new television show, or even study and read while you work out.
External stimulation can be a great motivation when you feel like you are about to quit, so don’t be afraid to embrace the tech! Choose from one of eight built-in workout programs for the ultimate option for your needs, and three totally customizable programs for your tailored program.
The Sunny treadmill also offers the ultimate combination of space and portability, with a generous surface of 51” x 19”, allowing you to run in comfort. At the same time, the unit folds away to become completely flat, allowing it to be stored and moved at will – ideal for those living in a small unit, or with restricted space.
- Top speeds of 8mph – perfect for a range of runners
- Tablet stand – allowing you to enjoy your media or playlist while on the move
- Choose from one of eight programs – as well as three customizable programs for the best option for your fitness needs
- Folds away completely – for the ultimate convenience
- 10-degree static incline for a little extra challenge
- Incline cannot be adjusted – could be limiting for those wanting to push themselves to the next level
Best Budget Friendly Treadmills Buying Guide
Now that we have had a chance to take a closer look at the best budget treadmills, the question still remains: how do you go about finding the best option and what do you need to know to make a smart, informed purchase?
To help you move forward, we have put together the ultimate guide to help you buy a budget treadmill. Remember, there is no practical difference between buying a budget treadmill or one of the ultimate high-end models available on the market.
No matter how much you are paying, there are a few must-see specifications and features that you should compare, prioritize and analyze.
As a note: you need to remember that the lower budget options are unlikely to offer the same flashy perks and additional features as more pricey options, so you need to be prepared to manage your expectations accordingly.
Some of the main points of comparison you need to consider include:
One of the main priorities to consider when investing in a treadmill is the running surface and in particular, the size of the running surface. This measurement is typically measured in inches and will be presented as the width by the length.
Ultimately, this refers to the amount of usable belt space that you will have when you are walking or running on the machine.
When it comes to choosing your treadmill, you should opt for the largest running surface that your budget will allow – the bigger the surface you have to run on, the more room you can enjoy during your workout. It is important to have plenty of space during any workout, but this is particularly important when you are running.
If you select a running surface that is too short, you will be forced to shorten your stride when you are running, and this will increase as you increase your speed. The taller you are, the more of an issue this will become, but it can also be an annoyance for shorter or average-sized runners.
Not only will this make for an uncomfortable run, but it can also put extra pressure on your knees, joints and back, and this can result in serious issues down the line, including a compromised posture, weak muscles, and in some cases, even issues with nerves.
In addition to ensuring that the length of the belt is adequate, you also need to ensure that the belt is wide enough for you to run comfortably. When you are just starting out in running, it can be tricky to keep your balance as your body gets used to the movement and begins to strengthen your muscles.
Running on a treadmill that is too narrow will have a negative impact on your balance, and this can lead to you falling off the side of the treadmill, as well as causing potential issues with twisted or sprained ankles. Most runners will naturally sway as they run – especially in the early days – so ensuring that you have a wide enough belt is crucial.
For the best result, you should opt for a running belt of 20” x 60” – this is ideal for allowing runners of any height to enjoy the best results, without the need to shorten their stride or compromise their balance.
Some budget treadmills force you to compromise, offering a super affordable price in exchange for a running surface of 16” x 50” – and in some cases even smaller. Unless you are super tiny, this is unlikely to be comfortable and can store up health and mobility issues which will not become apparent until later down the line.
Fortunately, all of the options we have included in our best picks offer a generous, spacious running surface, allowing you to avoid the worst of the problems, and alleviate your concerns. Wherever possible, this is not an area you should be compromising on.
One of the second most important factors to consider is the strength of the motor – it comes as no surprise that the stronger the motor, the better the results. As with the running surface, it is a good idea to invest in the most powerful motor you can afford – and this is especially important if you are planning to do some hardcore running on your new treadmill.
The strength of a treadmill is defined by the “continuous horse power” (CHP), and this tells you how much power the motor is able to sustain, and how well the motor will perform. As a rule, the majority of home treadmills will have motors between 2.0 and 4.0 CHP – a weak motor is a good indication that the treadmill you are considering is of a low or poor quality, and is likely to be too weak to be truly effective.
Not only does a strong motor offer greater power, but it also ensures that the motor will not have to work as hard in order to provide you with a successful workout. While you are running, you will enjoy the advantage of this thanks to a smoother, more even feel, allowing you to focus on your fitness, rather than feeling uncomfortable or off balance.
Once again, this is also important for keeping your posture straight and correct. On a similar note, you also need to consider the size of the rollers on your machine – these are the parts that actually make contact with the belt of the treadmill, and propel it down the deck. Larger rollers will ensure greater surface contact with the belt, putting less stress on the motor, and ensuring a smoother, more comfortable experience.
Ideally, you should opt for 2.5” rollers, though many of the budget options will fall somewhere between 1.5” and 1.9”. Ultimately, you should invest in the most expensive option your budget will allow.
As an added bonus, a stronger motor will last for far longer than a cheaper, weaker motor. This means that while these can be more expensive in the short term, they tend to last a little longer.
Ease of Use
Before investing your hard-earned cash in a treadmill, you need to make sure that it is easy to use – part of this includes looking at the features which make your experience smoother.
Speed buttons should be easy to access and use, and you need to be able to adjust both speed and incline easily – especially if you are planning to change things up mid-run. When you switch speeds, you should have a smooth, flawless experience, rather than having it feel clunky and jarring.
Check the height of the screen – this is something that is often overlooked, but can make a significant difference. The screen should be at eye level, allowing you to see the screen clearly and easily, without the need to strain or risk causing damage to your neck while running.
This also applies to any holders for tablets or phones – they should be easy to see without you having to adjust your posture or strain your neck, as well as being sturdy and stable – the last thing you want is to try and grab your phone or tablet mid-run.
When buying a new treadmill, you should take plenty of time to consider and research the warranty – this essentially acts as an insurance plan for your machine and can prove the difference between a great investment, and an expensive mistake. By ensuring that you have a good warranty, you can enjoy your workout rest assured that you have made a sound, solid investment.
There are four main areas to most treadmill warranties: frame, motor, parts, and labor. When making your selection, you should ensure that your frame and motor warranties last for the longest – these are the parts that will undergo the most wear and tear, and so need to be protected for the longest period of time.
Where possible, opt for a lifetime warranty – contrary to popular belief, there are a number of machines at the budget rate and lower price ranges that offer this. When it comes to parts warranties, most options will be between 2-5 years – once again, you should opt for the longest you can afford. The same goes for labor warranties, which are typically between 1 and 2 years.
It is worth noting that a warranty length can tell you a lot about the quality of the treadmill. As a general rule, a shorter warranty should be avoided – this tells you that the company is aware that the machine is cheaply made, from poor quality parts, and unlikely to last beyond the length of the warranty.
It also shows that they do not expect it to last for long. Longer warranties, on the other hand, suggests faith in the product from the manufacturers and demonstrates a trust and faith in their products.
Ultimately, if you are forced to choose, you should go for a simpler treadmill, offering fewer fancy features, bells, and whistles, but with a strong, lengthy warranty. In the long-term, this is likely to be a better fit than a more sophisticated machine with plenty of high-tech features, but a shoddy, short warranty.
One of the downsides of budget treadmills tends to be their lack of high-tech extras or fancy features – these are typically reserved for high-end, pricey models. In some cases, however, you can still enjoy a range of extra features which prove beneficial to your workout. Some of the most common features you can expect to enjoy include:
- Built-in workouts – many machines come with a good range of built-in workouts, with most on our list coming with between 10 and 30 workouts pre-loaded and ready to enjoy.
- Clear displays – while there are no large, digital, touchscreen displays here, you can nonetheless expect a clear, easy-to-read display.
- Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/USB capabilities – in many cases, even budget treadmills will come with the option to connect your devices to the unit via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, allowing you to track data and fitness apps, or connect your treadmill to built-in speakers, allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes to motivate you throughout the workout.
In some cases your machine may also have a USB or mp3 port, allowing you to charge your devices at the same time as you are working out, and while enjoying the ultimate active playlist.
- Connection to heart rate monitors – if you have a chest strap heart monitor or smart watch, some units will offer the option to connect to this – this can be great if you have a medical condition, or need to keep an eye on your heart rate.
- Folding capability – it is a good idea to opt for a treadmill that can be folded up and stored away when not in use – especially if you are limited in space to complete your workouts.
- Shock absorption – another thing to invest in is good shock absorption. This is important to help you protect your knees and joints, and spending good money here will help to protect your long-term health and wellbeing.
- Quick touch buttons – quick touch buttons allow you to flick between inclines and speeds – ideal for those carrying out interval training.
- Key metrics – even budget treadmills should allow you to analyze and see your key metrics quickly and easily, including calories, heart rate, pace, and mileage. All of this information should be easily accessible and understandable in an instant.
This is particularly important if your overall goal is to lose weight – here, you need to know how many calories you are burning each day in order to keep you on track. Even budget treadmills will typically include this information, and often in conjunction with other features such as step counters or heart rate monitors.
If weight loss is part of your journey, look for a model that includes these – not only does it offer extra motivation, but it also helps you to keep good track of your progress over time.
Another feature that is often overlooked is noise level, but this is super important if you are sharing your home with others, or planning to work out while little ones are sleeping.
This is also important in being considerate to your neighbors – the constant thud of a treadmill can make for poor neighborly relations after a short while! One of the downsides of folding, budget treadmills is that they tend to be noisy, so make sure that you do plenty of research before investing.
It goes without saying that you will need to carefully consider your budget before investing in your treadmill – even at a lower price, this can still be a significant amount of money. Going too cheap can be a mistake – there are a number of less-than-great units on the market, and you could end up wasting your money on an unsuitable machine.
The best way to make your choice is to set all the “must-haves” out clearly – are there particular features that are simply non-negotiable, and that you cannot do without? Make sure that the option you choose includes these essentials – anything extra is then a bonus!
As we have mentioned, storage space is an essential consideration, especially if you are short of space. Make sure that you are totally clear about how much space you have available before you buy your treadmill – the last thing you want is to get it home, only to find that there is nowhere for it to go in order to work out comfortably.
For the ultimate convenience, opt for a folding treadmill – this can be set up when you are working out, and folded away neatly in a corner or under furniture when not in use.
Investing in your treadmill can be expensive, but buying the best you can afford ensures that you have a product built to last. Durability is an important factor, so make sure that you check the weight capacity of the treadmill prior to your purchase, particularly if you are on the larger side.
This also indicates that the machine is sturdy, well made, and durable. The material is also important – opting for slightly more expensive materials means that you have something that is built to last, even if it costs a little more.
Safety features are another essential, and this is particularly important if you have compromised mobility or balance issues. Some models offer sturdy handrails, allowing you to grab and hold on firmly while you are running – these can be useful in the early days, as it can take some time to learn to run on a treadmill successfully. Emergency cords are another smart addition for those with balance issues – they force the belt to stop automatically if you fall, reducing the risk of injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a folding treadmill?
Folding treadmills are a great idea if you are tight on space to workout, or sharing your living quarters with others. They can be easily folded up when not in use and stored safely out of the way.
Can treadmills damage knees?
There is a common misconception that running – and in particular treadmill running – can cause damage to the knees, and this is a common fear in overweight runners. Conversely, treadmill walking is beneficial for the knees and joints and can help to build strength and flexibility. While running adds a little extra stress, you can minimize your risk of damage with the right footwear and posture.
Can I lose weight on a treadmill?
Cardiovascular exercise through running is an amazing way to lose weight, and particularly belly fat, as this type of exercise directly targets visceral fat, located beneath the stomach muscles. In fact, just an hour of running or jogging each day helps to burn a huge number of calories, boosts overall health, and even reduces stress and improves your mood! With a solid, regular routine, you will see results fairly rapidly.
What should I consider when buying a treadmill?
There are a number of considerations to take into account when buying your treadmill, and these include price, durability, motor, warranties and insurance, space, speed, and extra features.
What is better: running on a treadmill or outside?
As a general rule, walking or running outside will offer more of a challenge for your body, due to the natural incline and texture of the ground. A treadmill can do some of the work for you thanks to the moving tread, and this can result in fewer calories burned than an outdoor run.
Treadmills can, however, be a great option to add into your workout, and the best routine will include a combination of outdoor and treadmill workouts. As a note – remember not to hang onto the handrails if these are included on your treadmill, as this can reduce the number of calories you burn in a session. It can also impair your posture, and this can be tricky to rectify.